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Robin Robinson - Citizen Columnist

A cut above the rest: Shear success while pruning plants

Rosi Ware, expert gardener and current president of the Key West Garden Club, gave 34 assembled volunteer gardeners a brief, but thorough, lesson in proper pruning techniques on a recent Monday morning. “Before starting to prune, the gardener must have a good set of shears,” she advised. Ware favors a[…]

Plant a tree to celebrate

J Sterling Morton had the right idea in 1872 on April 10 when he founded Arbor Day in Nebraska City. That day one million trees were planted. There is no reason that we can’t do it again and again and again. There are multiple plans to do that. An individual[…]

Two native winners that help feed the birds

On a recent visit to the Key West Wildlife Center, where they repair damaged birds and keep hordes of chickens before they are sent off to the peach farms of Georgia, I was told by Peggy Coontz that the captive birds miss the fecundity of wild fruit that they would[…]

Jungle plant perfect gift for next Christmas

The Christmas cactus is not a cactus at all, but an epiphyte native to the wet jungles of coastal Brazil. It behaves more like an orchid than a cactus. Because it blooms in winter when few other flowers are blooming, it is often given as a gift to brighten the[…]

Magic of mistletoe plant through the years

There are tales about the parasitic mistletoe plant that stretch for thousands of years.The Norse version has the god of light, Badr, son of Frigg and Odin, who was said to be a fair, gracious one and the fairest spoken, and to emit a bold, white light. Frigg had a[…]

One person makes a difference

I tell the story about Civil War hero Capt. James Milton Brannon at the Key West Garden Club because it is so amazing to me that one person’s actions can make such a huge difference in the history of the world. Capt. James Milton Brannon, and I repeat the name[…]

New life for the tree of life at the Garden Club

The early explorers were out to get riches for the sponsors of their ventures, got a little more than they bargained for when the sailors returned from the new world with syphilis. The disease decimated the European population. The treatment for the disease was to be found in the resin[…]

‘Tourist tree’ has plenty of appeal

A gumbo limbo is a big tree. It needs at least 60 feet of space for its canopy and roots to grow. The largest gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba) on record, according to the American Forests National Record of Big Trees, is 178 inches in circumference, 43 feet in height and[…]

The healing power of coconut oil

Coconut palm is the most important tree in the world. Some lucky Pacific island sprouted the first coconut palm. It dropped its fruit into the ocean currents and three months later washed it onto a distant shore where it took root. Now coconuts have floated everywhere. The ubiquitous palm is[…]